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OPINIONS: Campus cyclists need to be pedestrian friendly

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Tom Price | The Daily Wildcat

The bicycle racks outside Coronado Residence Hall jammed with bikes for the 776 students that live in the dorm. In September UAPD will start a Traffic Education and Enforcement program.

As a writer here at The Daily Wildcat, it is my duty to supplement real news with thoughtful and critical analysis of the world we live in with a campus-centric approach and a entertaining, likable tone of an individual, not a rule book. This time, while the UA student body needs to immediately clamor to address not inequity or tuition increases, but the cyclist menace.

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The University maintains many written rules and policies, organized generally, for example, under Student Code of Conduct or Academic Integrity. Few have transcended the paper-digital realm to that of a physical sign bolted to walls and elsewhere around campus. Some may witness the irony of “NO SMOKING” going ignored by the very people that engage in the act, anecdotally, within no more than a few feet of the advisory. But, admittedly, even they pale in comparison to those that take the metaphorical form of a hyper-sonic cruise missile through several “Walk Your Bike” zones on their two-wheeled embodiment's of entitlement and superiority.

According to the Daily Mail, pedestrian-cyclist accidents in London have increased by nearly 50% over a 7-year period from 2009 to 2015, many of which, involved incidents where victims have died from injuries sustained. The Tucson area is no stranger to the increasing popularity in alternative, carbon less forms of transportation. After all, we host the “El Tour de Tucson”, a ¼ to 100 mile trek across the landscape that attracts a menacing 9,000 riders to our streets each year. Additionally, Tucson will launch a pilot program involving rent-able E-scooters sometime in July, a mode of transportation the university has famously banned citing safety concerns. 

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As a pedestrian that frequents the sidewalks of campus, particularly during peak hours of foot and cyclist traffic, it is evident that the infrastructure that currently exists leans towards mutual exclusivity; inconsistent, unpredictable yielding leads to abrupt stoppage and often many take it upon themselves to be a shepherd, not a sheep, and frustrate a group attempt to accommodate the cyclist that now has no choice but to be almost, if not more, ruthless in the future. Thus, a familiar sight is to see both the pedestrian and cyclist vying for dominance of our already limited footpaths, and now the UA considers the return of the scooter? Indeed, we have skateboards, but I find that they require far greater skill and motor coordination than a bicycle which, arguably, leads to the lesser likelihood of any incident. Just as anyone can drive a car, anyone can ride a bike, and that’s a problem that’s evident in yearly motor accidents and cyclist shenanigans.

So, what can the student body do to safeguard their lives and the integrity of the school? A particularly genius idea is to extend the current real estate that is encompassed by “Walk Your Bike” jurisdiction, estimated anecdotally to be ~200 square-feet of campus, by 89,023,434 percent to a total square-footage of 178,047,068 or roughly 6.64 square-miles. This figure will aim to encompass the entire square-mile that The University of Arizona sits upon as well as an additional 5.64 square-mile cycling exclusion zone, for a total of a 2.57-mile exclusionary radius. To clarify: this is not a ban. Unlike the rest of the world, ‘ban’ is a particularly dirty word in these 50 United States of America, its 5 major territories and many minor islands. Likewise, with this proposal, bicycles will still be permitted, but Walk-Your-Bike(WYB) must be strictly adhered to. Bold steps can be undertaken to secure a better future, with proper bike-control measures, it may just become reality.


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